Coco Schumann German
From the underground of Berlin, to Theresienstadt, from Auschwitz to Australia, from the Berlin 'Red House' to the 'Ewigen Lampe' back to swing. A cross section through the life of the musician Coco Schumann. Coco Schumann, one that studied the high education of Jazz in Berlin of the late thirties, that gained experiences in improvising, submerging, surviving- one that's life was saved by music. Weather as first German electrical guitar player with the 'Helmut Zacharias Quartett' or at radio-pop-recordings, or with 'Leo Rosners Gipsy Band' in Australia or tomorrow in the 'Ewigen Lampe' in Berlin, he was and still is always distinguished by his unique feeling for the swing. One of the few still active Jazz musicians in Germany, that gained their first musical experiences in the thirties, is the guitar player Coco Schumann. Heinz Jakob Schumann was born in Berlin 1924 and as half Jewish he had to learn growing up really quick. His love for music helped him: In 1936 he already was infected by the 'Swing-Virus' and he still is not cured . 1936 in Berlin, that meant 'The Olympic Games', but also a little more freedom in the music for that what was called a little later 'Niggermusic'. Coco, as he was called soon, was at first only a 'fence guest' in the big dancehalls of those days, he for example listened to the big Swing-Idol Teddy Stauffer at the Delphi. But he was part of it soon, learned by playing, went through a unique school, a career, that would be almost impossible today. A crucial reason therefore was his special feeling for the swing. Exactly that feeling, that he is envied for, by many young guitar players. This was followed by the time of hidden and forbidden appearances in bars and basements in Berlin, and finally by denunciation, arrest and kidnapping to the concentration camps Theresienstadt, Auschwitz, Dachau. He only survived with the help of his music, weather as part of the 'Ghettoswingers' in Theresienstadt, or when he was forced to play the song 'La Paloma' for the twenties time in Auschwitz. For many years he wouldn't talk about these experiences, today he sees an obligation to fight against forgetting these times. After the war he reconnected with the Jazz-Scene, he played with Helmut Zacharias, became the first German musician with an electrical guitar, finally immigrated to Australia and then came back after a few years. Coco Schumann never categorized his music strictly and also had no problems with more common forms of music. That is how he accompanied the story of the German popular music, the recordings at some radio stations and also his own composing work. Whatever he does, weather he plays at Jazz-Concerts or in dancehalls he always stays faithful for his audience and himself: the music is the main thing, the feeling for the rhythm and for the moment.
Coco Schumann
Coco Now!

Coco Schumann
Coco Schumann
50 Years In Jazz
last updated: 19.02.2000 | top